Gunfights with wolves
When I saw the first Wolf Warrior back in 2015, I wasn't exactly blown away. Maybe I was mildly entertained but I've seen my fair share of martial-arts action films, far better ones than what star and director Jing Wu's film offered. I knew a sequel was hinted at and I originally planned to pass on it but then I heard the amount of bank Wolf Warrior 2 made in China where it now stands as the country's highest-grossing film ever (take a peek at the film's entire gross on Wikipedia; it's unreal). Curiosity now had me as I needed to see what the big deal was about this sequel, and after watching it the hard truth is its' success feels........inflated. If you've never seen the first film, don't worry too much since little is said upon about the events that occurred in the first film save for the fate of one certain character. Several years after the events of the first film, Leng Feng (Jing Fu) leaves the Chinese army to live the life of a wanderer near the coasts of Africa where he helps provide medicinal aid and relief for citizens in need. During a casual day on the beach with some friends, a group of rebel forces attacks Leng and everyone, killing innocents in an attempt to overthrow the government of the African nation. Leng fights back against several of the rebel soldiers but gets further involved in the conflict by volunteering to help save a doctor who has come up with a vaccine for Lamanla, a disease that has become an epidemic in the region. The plot feels bare-bones, serving more as an excuse for the character to go on a one-man mission, taking out bad guys and going balls-out. Compared to the first film, there are some minor improvements. For one and the most noticeable is that Leng Feng isn't totally invincible like in the last film where practically nothing could faze him (the dude stepped on a landmine and was blown away but was somehow still able to fight). Here, he's a bit more grounded and relies on others to help fight against the bad guys however my dad, who watched the film with me, noticed that Leng Feng felt like a Chinese Rambo; which makes sense considering that Wolf Warrior 2 features major nationalistic themes and subjects of pro-militarism. The only thing Leng was missing was a red bandana and a huge machine gun. The hand-to-hand fight scenes are great but sadly there are fewer here than in the first film, favoring more gunfights and barrages of explosions that even Michael Bay would be impressed with. Despite its' improvements, Wolf Warrior 2 still fails in comparison to other martial-art films, even older ones. Much of the film's success is more likely because of the film's elements of patriotism and the positive image of the Chinese military among other things. Concerning the action sequences, I have definitely seen better and this sequel doesn't really do much to set itself apart from other titles; but, having said that, Wolf Warrior 2 is still a cut above, albeit a slight one, over mediocrity, and just like I said about the first film, it deserves a rental at best.